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D&D 5E Uses for Minor Alchemy

Astrosicebear

First Post
I dont have my book on me to check the verbage... but if you allow real world physics to exist in your games, remember that mass/density is important.

Ice is far less dense than metal... and we all know the power of expanding ice. Nothing like using a minor ability to destroy just about anything. Unopenable door? Slide a thin strip of lead under the door jam, transmute it into ice, and watch it expand to blow the door right off its hinges.

Of course you could rule that the ability constrains the proportions of the transmuted material... but then technically you are destroying matter and breaking the world, at which point the ability creates a black hole, ripping space time, teleporting in Cthulu.
 

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TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
Ice is far less dense than metal... and we all know the power of expanding ice. Nothing like using a minor ability to destroy just about anything. Unopenable door? Slide a thin strip of lead under the door jam, transmute it into ice, and watch it expand to blow the door right off its hinges.

So, pretty much, we've replaced the Batman Wizard with the MacGyver Wizard. (For you kids, that was a TV show from the 80s.)
 


Kid Charlemagne

I am the Very Model of a Modern Moderator
The problem with creating gold coins out of silver is that the metal they are made of is only part of what identifies them as the coin in question - you wouldn't be turning quarters into silver dollars, you'd be turning quarters into silver quarters, and any competent merchant will see through that in a second, especially in a world where such magic is known to exist. Along the same lines, there's a reason silvered swords are silver(ed), not silver. You'd get one good shot in, and then you've got a 90 degree bend in your suddenly somewhat-sword-like club.

On the other hand, I like the sculpting idea. Turning a very strong metal like steel into a softer metal like lead to allow for fine detail work could be a very useful trick.
 

MarkB

Legend
I would use disguise self spell and turn copper pieces into silver pieces, spend them. The reason to use copper pieces is so when they turn back the merchant is more likely to assume some kind of error in bookkeeping occurred before assuming foul magics.

That may be one reason why the PHB image of coinage on page 143 gives each denomination such radically different shapes. You can pretty much tell each one by feel, and silver pieces are especially easy to retrieve - basically just stick your hand in your purse and rummage until you feel a few bursts of searing pain, then when you pull it back out, the silver coins will be the ones impaling your tender flesh.
 




MarkB

Legend
As I recall (away from my PHB right now), there's a short list of materials that includes silver, stone, iron and wood, and you can transmute any one such substance into another on the list.
 

As I recall (away from my PHB right now), there's a short list of materials that includes silver, stone, iron and wood, and you can transmute any one such substance into another on the list.

This. Here is the precise list of allowed materials:

Wood
Stone (not gemstones)
Iron
Copper
Silver

You can transform any one object made of one of those materials into another material on that list. So no rope, string, etc. Not even lead. You therefore cannot produce a bunch of silver coins. Depending on how you interpret duration, you may be able to have a 5 at once (briefly).

Duration is described in a way that makes it unclear as to whether it functions like a concentration spell with a duration of up to 1 hour, or whether it has a concentration duration, but with a minimum of 1 hour even if you cease concentrating. Given that the minor conjuration feature of the conjurer is superior in my estimation, I'm prone to go with the more liberal latter interpretation.

Since it requires (as I read it) a minimum of 10 minutes to transmute something, and since you can't concentrate on more than one thing at a time, you could spend 50 minutes to have 5 objects (of no more volume than 1 cubic foot each) transmuted at once, with one of the first 4 changing back every 10 minutes, and the final one lasting until you lose concentration. It is worth noting that it doesn't say that the effect ends if you use it again, so concentration is the only limitation on multiple effects.

The ways to use the effects of minor alchemy seem rather limited compared to minor conjuration (which essentially lets you conjure most items of equipment you might need with a single action, such as a crowbar, shortsword or mace, a grappling hook, a coil of rope (depending on how liberal your size interpretation is) and many more (though only one at a time). Therefore I feel it's appropriate to use the most liberal interpretations of minor alchemy to allow it to catch up. So, as someone posted in this thread over on the Wizards forums, stone could include pumice (turn the bars of your jail cell from iron to pumice and smash them), chalk (for writing), or soapstone for carving (wood would also work for carving).

It seems to me that it's must useful functions are turning a hard or tough material into something brittle or easily destroyed, or something you can shape more easily. Making a crowbar out of a stick is another good example.

Given that most of the 2nd level wizard features are very useful on a regular basis, it definitely needs either a bit of a boost or the most liberal interpretation possible of each element.

Anyone interested in trying out their RAW optimization cheesiness powers to come up with ways that it could be used beyond what I described? I'd appreciate the added efficacy of it.
 

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